Colonial says any tie-up with Gecina to take time

19th December 2007, Comments 0 comments

Spanish property company Inmobiliaria Colonial said Tuesday that any merger with the French real-estate firm Gecina would involve complex negotiations.

19 December 2007

MADRID - Spanish property company Inmobiliaria Colonial said Tuesday that any merger with the French real-estate firm Gecina would involve complex negotiations and a deal would not be reached until next year.

Speaking after an extraordinary shareholders' meeting, Chief Executive Mariano Miguel said the Spanish firm is also considering other options, such as the creation of joint subsidiaries with Gecina and share or asset swaps.

Miguel noted Gecina is still immersed in a legal dispute with the French bourse regulator AMF which would take months to resolve.

The AMF has ruled that Spanish businessmen Joaquín Rivero, who is Gecina's chairman, and Bautista Soler had acted in concert in acquiring stakes in local real-estate investment firm Gecina and were obliged to offer a mandatory full takeover offer for the company. Soler and Rivero have denied any collusion.

Spanish property firms are feeling the effects of the end of a massive property boom in Spain and are looking to diversify. Colonial also has a high debt-asset ration and is feeling the pinch of the credit crunch.

"The search for value is to diversify, and we are working on this," Chairman Luis Portillo said. Portillo acknowledged that Colonial's debt is high, but added there are other "suitors" interested in the company.

[Copyright EL PAÍS, SL./ Adrián Soto 2007]

Subject: Spanish news

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